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The Future of Renewable Energy Facility Siting in Michigan

On November 28, 2023, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill 5120 (PA 233 of 2023) which provides citing authority to the Michigan Public Service Commission (“MPSC”) for utility-scale wind, solar, and energy storage facilities under specified conditions.

On March 7, 2024, the MPSC held a workshop to talk about Renewable Energy and Energy Siting Implementation. At the meeting, members of the MPSC and other representatives who work intimately with land use and zoning gave presentations and fielded questions relating to PA 233.

They began the meeting with explaining the MPSC decision making process along with how citizens and other can affect the rule making process. One key takeaway which may impact local units of government is whether the locality has Compatible Renewal Energy Ordinance (“CREO”).

According to PA 233, a CREO “means an ordinance providing for the development of energy facilities in the local unit of government whose requirements are not more restrictive than the provisions described below under the heading ‘Health and safety standards.” It is also important to note some local units do not have a CREO. However, projects located in certain areas across Michigan could be subject to multiple CREOs (i.e. township, county, village, or city).

CREO process is more expedited than traditional state processes as local units of government must approve or deny applications within 120 days after receiving it. Furthermore, construction of the proposed facility must begin within five years after the date the permit is granted any challenges to it are concluded.

There are still many unknowns with how the implementation of these projects will occur when PA 233 goes into effect November 29, 2024. There will be numerous meetings throughout 2024 before November where representatives from the MPSC and other relevant organizations will attempt to work with citizens and local officials to create as much transparency as possible.

But one thing we do know, is the attorneys at Dalton & Tomich will continue to stay informed and be ready for all implementation processes. Please reach out if you have any questions related to a current or future project or any other land use question and we would be happy to assist you.

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